The Seeburg Home Stereo Consoles are relatively rare. The cost of these units at their time was very high and not many could afford them. However, every once in a while, complete units or the innards only are offered for sale. Transportation of complete units is a bit of a problem, though, if pickup is not possible.
Long story short, I had been interested in one of these units for quiet a while, but had refrained from getting anything because of shipping cost and the sheer size (and style) of the complete unit. It is one thing to put a jukebox into your living room – that is just a unique conversation piece. It is a totally different matter to bring in a huge wooden cabinet styled the way people liked it in the 60’s. Therefore, my decision was clear to look for just the parts without the cabinet and put something together that would install in an existing cabinet (which already accommodated a Library Unit). After quiet a bit of searching, I was lucky to find what I was looking for available for sale a relatively short distance away from where I live. What I got was a bunch of parts out of a HSC1: the complete mechanism, the controller unit, the selector, the tuner / receiver, a number of wires, and – very important – the original brackets and springs used to suspend the mechanism in the cabinet, that way isolating it from external vibrations.
For a quick test, all parts were put on a workbench, connected to each other and the assembly tried out. Result: it worked (kind of, records would not be rejected, so once one had played, the system was stuck). The problems noted for the whole system included
the above mentioned failure to reject records
certain selections not working
scratchy volume and tone controls in the amplifier
burned-out bulbs for the illumination of the radio dial
a broken tuning indicator
a missing cover for the mechanism
later discovered: a wire from the pickup to a terminal strip was broken
First of all, the system needed to be restored to working condition.
Beginning with the mechanism, all parts and particularly all contacts were cleaned and adjusted, where required. Afterwards, the whole mechanism was properly lubricated. That took care of the mechanism-related problems. During the testing, it turned out that one wire (left channel) of the connection cable between pickup and a terminal strip had been torn. That was an easy enough fix, though.
The next item to be looked at was the controller. All contacts were cleaned (which was pretty much the extent of the work on that part).
Getting the tuner / receiver back to “as good as new” was a little more involved. The scratching from the potentiometers fortunately went away after turning them from stop to stop back and forth a few times. Now the tuner portion of the assembly had to be taken apart to both get to the light bulbs and the tuning indicator. Changing the bulbs was a piece of cake, as expected, getting the tuning indicator fixed was a bit more complex, since, internally, the coil had broken off the spring-loaded axle for the moving hand. It was required to disassemble the indicator, super-glue the parts back together and then put everything in place again. A modification was made to the amplifier, feeding a signal with a higher output level than original to the “tape out” jacks. That way, there was enough amplitude to properly drive the external amp. The missing cover couldn’t be helped for now.
After these changes in place, everything worked fine. It was now time to come up with a solution for putting everything into the designated cabinet.
The idea was to install the mechanism in a frame that would also support the other components and a front panel and then to be able to install the complete assembly into the cabinet. For the frame not to become too bulky, it needed to be made out of metal. I picked 1” steel L-profiles, readily available at most home improvement stores. They were cut to length, drilled, tapped and finally bolted together to make a sturdy support frame.
The components were installed (see photo) and the completed unit found a place in the cabinet.
Now the Home Stereo Console is connected to an external amplifier and speakers, the Library unit is connected to the same amplifier through the tape input of the Home Stereo Console, making this a very nice setup for playing both albums and 45s.
Remote Control for HSC
After quiet a bit of searching and waiting, I was able to obtain a HRSC3 remote control unit for the Home Stereo Console. To my great surprise, it looked like it had never been installed, the terminal screws for the wire connections were still factory tightened with no tool marks or any other indication that anything had been hooked up to the remote control ever.
In the sixties, “remote control” simply meant you didn’t have to get up to control the HSC, by no means it meant “wireless”. The HRSC3, therefore, requires some wiring to the HSC in order to work. The basic functions (on / off, reject, clear, and select) require a total of 6 wires (this includes power for a built-in indicator light that comes on as soon as the HSC is powered up). The headphone jack with volume control requires an additional 4 wires. For the time being I have decided not to hook up the headphone circuitry. Reason: it was designed to be tied into a full remote speaker configuration, based on a 70V CV system. This, however, requires transformers to be connected to the speaker output of the HSC amplifier, which I don’t have at this time and will only consider acquiring if I come across a very reasonably priced set of parts. This leaves the wires to the switches and the dial to be connected.
There is a small problem, though: the HRSC3 is already a rare item to find, a usable original cable is practically impossible to get a hold of. First thought: it cannot be too hard to simply connect the wires to the selector of the HSC. This is actually true, except for not being able to connect the indicator light, because the required 25V AC are not wired to the selector, they only exist at pin 2 of the socket at the control unit where the selector cable plugs in. Making a wire harness similar to what the original cable featured (with a plug going onto the control unit and a socket accepting the plug from the built-in selector) is difficult at best, because the connector assemblies are also about 50 years old and not exactly available in the electronics store around the corner…
Long story short, I needed to come up with a solution, which a) works, and b) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. These days, cat5 network cable is relatively inexpensive and available in almost any length. I decided to go with a long (50 ft) cat5e cable, another short (3 ft) cat5e cable, and 2 couplers. The short cable was cut in the middle, the ends stripped and one cable piece connected to the screw terminals in the remote control, the other soldered to the corresponding points of the selector in the HSC. Both cable ends were then connected to each other with the long cable, using the couplers. That left me with only one problem: the 25V AC for the indicator light. The quick fix: I found a small 2mm diameter plug (the metal part of a small banana plug) that nicely fit the socket at the controller of the HSC. I enlarged the hole for contact 2 in the selector plug body such that the banana plug would fit through, soldered a length of wire to the banana plug, fed the wire through the plug body, inserted first the banana plug into contact 2 of the socket, then plugged in the large plug, and ran the wire to the selector to connect it to the remaining open end of the connection cable to the remote control. Works like a charm and – due to the couplers on both ends – it is very easy to disconnect the remote, if required.
Update / Experience
After some time of operation, the Home Stereo Console started acting up. It would play side one of any record, but rarely (finally never) the second side. If only side one was selected, the normal record playing cycle would work nicely. If side two was selected, side one would play, but not cancel, i.e. side one would play over and over again until the selection was manually cancelled with “clear”. All kinds of thoughts crossed my mind about a damaged controller or Tormat unit. As it turned out, though, the only problem was dirty contacts on the mechanism. After a nice thorough cleaning, everything worked just fine. I was happy to find an original cover for the mechanism (which was missing when I bought the unit). With it in place, I expect the contacts to stay clean much longer.
Another snag I ran into was that the left amplifier channel suddenly went silent (or almost silent). With the mental image of searching for 50 year old semiconductors to get the amp fixed, I went troubleshooting, only to find out that the problem was a dead coupling capacitor in the first stage of the amplifier. Replacing that capacitor fixed the problem and everything is back to perfect working condition.
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Home Stereo Console Facts
It was in the late 60’s when Seeburg was looking to expand their market and offer a “luxury turntable” for home use. They introduced a series of what they called “Home Stereo Consoles”, which were available in a variety of cabinet styles.
Essentially, this was a Selectomatic 100 mechanism, modified to play albums at 33 1/3 rpm, together with a Tormat unit, the controller, a receiver/amplifier unit, and the necessary speakers.
The result was a stereo system with excellent sound and a convenient way of accessing and playing up to 50 albums. There was even a (wired) remote control available as an accessory.
Over a few years time, a number of different versions were released. Versions HSC1, HSC2, and HSC3 (all from 1967) were essentially the same. The most obvious difference was the cabinets. However, some details changed from one model to another, such as the speaker configuration, or the version of the tuner / receiver.
They had in common the selector, which comprised a number of buttons / switches and a rotary telephone dial, which was used to dial in 2-digit numbers in order to select A and B sides of the albums.
Largely unchanged from the HSC models, Seeburg introduced the next generation of Home Stereo Consoles in 1968. Most significant difference was again the selection of cabinet styles, however, changes were also made to the controller unit (invisible to the user) and the selector, for which the rotary dial was replaced with a keypad. The “6000” series featured the models “Kenilworth”, “Granada”, and “Milano”.
These Home Stereo Consoles were large pieces of furniture. For those who didn’t have the room, did not like the style of the consoles, or already owned quality stereo equipment, Seeburg made models AP1 and AP2 available in 1967. These “Audiomation Players” were basically HSC units in a much smaller cabinet and without the tuner / receiver and speakers. The only difference between AP1 and AP2 was that AP2 was in an unfinished cabinet, which allowed integration into existing furniture.
Number of records: 50 (33 1/3 rpm Album)
Number of selections: 100
Output: 120W peak
Number of speakers: 2 x 12" coaxial (HSC1, 6000 series)
2 x 10" bass / 2 x 6" mid / 2 x 3.5" high (HSC2 and HSC3)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 28" H x 22" D x 72" W (HSC1)
28" H x 22" D x 62" W (HSC2, HSC3)
28" H x 20" D x 60" W (model "Granada")
Weight (lbs): 310 lbs (HSC1, HSC2, HSC3)
275 lbs (model "Granada")
Click here for the Seeburg Flyer for model "Granada" in PDF format.
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Home Stereo Console Accessories
External speakers type HRSS1 were available both as an addition to the built-in speakers, but also in combination with the separate tuner / receiver used for the AP1 and AP2 units. Remote volume controls could be connected, either for low impedance systems (HRLC1), or for 70 V CV systems (HRLC2).
A separate tuner / receiver has been available for connection to the AP1 and AP2 units. Another optional accessory was a tape system (HTPS1)
Different model remote controls could be obtained, with up to 12 connectable to a player unit.
The following models have been available:
HRSC1 wall mount, selector only (for HSC series)
HRSC3 table top, selector, headphone jack and volume control (for HSC series)
SCM-2 wall mount, selector only (for 6000 series)
SCM-3 table top, selector, headphone jack and volume control (for 6000 series)
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